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Waddington Homecoming holds bed races on Main Street


WADDINGTON — The end of Main Street was blocked off Saturday afternoon as six teams of five raced down the street on gurneys.

“They have two beds side by side, one person on the bed and four people pushing,” said Shelly L. Shirley, first-time organizer of the Waddington Homecoming weekend. “They go down to the end of the street, drink a glass of beer, try to shoot a basketball into the net and then try to race back up the hill.”

Along with free T-shirts, the first-place team received $200 and the second-place team received $100.

Tristan I. Kerr, Chase Mills, said he drove for nine hours to get home in time to join a team for the race. He said he’s been participating in the tradition for four years.

“It’s the only town that blocks off their Main Street to have people race down on beds, drink beer and then race back,” Mr. Kerr said.

Also participating was the Coulton family from Philadelphia, Pa. Three sisters, Trisha L., Julie L., and Sarah A., said they vacation in Northern New York every summer and watch the races every year, but this time they wanted to take part.

“We’ve been doing this for over 30 years, and I tell people at home about it and they don’t believe it until I show them a video of it,” said Ann M. Coulton, the girls’ mother.

The bed races are sponsored each year by Mack’s Tavern, 8 Main St. George J. Ruddy said he’s sponsored the races for eight of the 10 years he has owned the bar.

“There are a lot of people that come to watch the bed races,” Mr. Ruddy said. “Everybody looks forward to the homecoming. Every little town has their weekend, it seems.”

The sides of the street were packed with people waiting for the races to begin.

Alexis G. VanPatten, 12, and neighbor Morgan M. Burns, 12, both of Waddington, sat in the open back of a minivan to watch the race.

“It’s fun to watch,” Morgan said. “They’re all drunk and running back and forth with these beds, and sometimes they dump the beer on themselves.”

Pat L. Kiah, Lisbon, had camping chairs set up on the side of Main Street as she and her husband and friends waited for the race to begin. She said she attends the Waddington Homecoming almost every year, and the bed racing is one of her favorite events.

“We have a Lisbon Homecoming too, but we come here too because people from here go to ours,” she said. “We try to support the neighboring towns.”

Besides the popular bed races, the three-day Waddington event had more than 120 vendors and karaoke.

“It’s always great to have people that have moved away and come back for Homecoming,” Ms. Shirley said. “We all come together as a community, and it’s great having all these people here.”

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